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Are Bookcases Outdated?

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Bookcases are a staple in older homes and can tell a lot about the owner. They can reveal interests and be one of the most stylish additions to any living room. However, following the advent of Kindles, eBooks, and Audiobooks, are bookcases falling out of fashion?

Bookcases can be outdated, especially if not looked after, made of fast-furniture, and filled with other items rather than books. However, a stylish, modern bookcase made of solid wood and filled with volumes can still create an enjoyable atmosphere in your living room. 

Bookcases around a window.

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Bookcases might not be the perfect piece of furniture for all homes and can easily look outdated. Nonetheless, with the right tips, this does not have to be the case for all bookshelves, so read on!

Are Bookcases Outdated?

Bookcases, especially if made of high-quality wood and boasting a modern design, are not outdated.

However, modern trends and shopping patterns of the new generations indicate whether it still makes sense to have a bookcase in our houses. 

Of course, personal preferences, habits, and home styles are just as essential factors in the choice.

Ultimately, your decision to have a bookcase in your house can depend on whether you already own one.

Looking Into the Bookcase Trend

While books and bookcases per se are not outdated, it is essential to understand that there has been a change in shopping patterns.

After starting to become popular over the past years, today eBooks today make up for 18% of total book sales. While they still have not overtaken print books, the industry growth is forecasted to be as high as 5% in the period 2020-2025.

Alongside audiobooks and online learning platforms, eBooks are set to be dominating the market soon. But, there is another growing trend to consider.

The shopping patterns adopted by Millennials – experiences over things, rentals over purchases – can have a significant impact on whether you need a bookcase.

Firstly, if you prefer to invest in experiences instead of things, you might lean towards a more minimalistic style for your house.

Such a choice allows you to save on furniture, appliances, and technology to enjoy more exclusive experiences.

Secondly, bookcases – at least the high-quality ones – are not designed to be moved around often.

If you are only renting your flat or apartment and looking at often moving, having a bookcase can make the process more cumbersome and expensive.

Factors to Consider Before Installing a Bookcase

If your home is not completed with a bookcase yet and you are thinking about investing in one, some important considerations can guide you in your decision.

Indeed, many pieces of furniture on the market are, in fact, outdated. But not all of them are so.

What Is the Style of Your House?

Before investing in a bookcase, you should define the style of your home.

This is essential to avoid shopping for a piece of furniture that is likely to become outdated in a matter of years. 

However, if you wish to proudly display your volume, finding shelves that match the rest of the house is essential.

These might be made of solid wood, but metal and copper structures can also be incredibly stylish and fit the modern look of your home better.

How Many Books Do You Need to Display?

Your bookcase style is essential, but you might not need one if you don’t have many books, volumes, or items to display.

If you are not sure whether your habits will bring you to create stylish bookshelves, consider saving the space for something else. 

While it might not be the solution you had planned for, it is crucial to find out whether a bookcase will add something to your home’s style, or it will only limit your living space. 

Additionally, don’t forget that items on a bookshelf will be on display.

If you are not sure you can keep it clean, in order, free of dust, and in-style, it can end up giving your house a scruffy, disorganized look.

Are You Planning on Moving Soon?

If you don’t own the home but just rent it, consider how often you are moving from one house to another.

Indeed, moving bookcases, especially those that are not designed to be mounted and dismounted, can increase your house move’s price.

Ultimately, bookcases can be expensive, especially if you are looking for a custom-made design.

In this case, investing in this furniture might cause you an additional loss when leaving it behind.

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How to Style Your Current Bookcase

If you already have a bookcase and wonder whether you should get rid of it, check whether you can restyle it for the better.

If you have stopped buying books or the shelves have started to look messy and disorganized, a quick restyle can add a personal touch to your bookcase. 

Start by cleaning it and getting rid of the items that don’t match your preferences any longer.

This step can be lengthy, but it can reduce the number of things to store. Then, just by adding accessories from your travels or vintage items, you can create a stylish background. 

One trend that is fun for home decor is organizing books by color.

It’s a creative way to give make your bookshelves visually pleasing.

Other Tips for a Timeless Bookcase

When picking your bookcase wisely, you might enjoy a timeless piece of stylish furniture for years to come. Follow the tips below for a purposeful bookcase.

Avoid Fast-Furniture

Some furniture pieces are made of low-quality materials and are designed to be changed in a matter of months.

Similarly, these types of bookcases are often the ones that can quickly become outdated. Investing in materials such as solid wood, metal, or a mixture of the two, can create a sturdy frame that will work with your home’s current and future styles.

Bring Nature In

Of course, the primary objective behind a bookcase is to create a place for your books.

However, inevitably, you will add items to the shelves. Creating a natural look for your bookshelf is easy, with just a few plants and natural materials such as wood. 

Add a Personal Touch to Your Bookcase

Bookcases slid out of fashion a few years ago, but today the new styles can make them the perfect addition for any home.

From minimalistic to minimalist and even vintage styles, there are bookshelves to meet your preferences. However, since it will be in your home for many years, don’t hesitate to ask an expert to create a custom-made one. 

When organizing the items on your bookcase, be careful not to over-style it.

Placing your larger items at the back of the shelf and creating a balance of interest and negative space on each shelf can help you achieve this result.

Painting your shelving a different color is a great way to give your bookshelves a bit more visual appeal. Painting furniture can update a look without investing a lot of money or time.

Blue painted shelving in white armoire.

Opt for a Creative Solution 

Not all bookcases have to be a simple grid of shelves where items inevitably pile up over time.

Creative solutions include different, more inspiring shapes where you can organize your items with a pattern. These artistic pieces of furniture are likely to turn into the main focal point of a room naturally.

Ultimately, styling your bookcase in the right way comes down to your personal preference.

If not sure where to start with your remodeling process, look at the tips in the video below:


If you are wondering whether bookcases are outdated, you should know that this varies depending on your home style, how much living space you have, and your lifestyle. 

Some individuals love collecting books, which make their bookcases fascinating displays.

However, if you are often moving, and you prefer to have your personal library online on your Kindle, a bookcase might lose its meaning.

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